What is Rideshare?: Everything You Wanted to Know About Ridesharing & More

As much as we talk about rideshare here at The Rideshare Guy, there are many people who have questions about the concept, including “what’s the difference between rideshare and ride-hail?” and “how does ridesharing work?” RSG contributor Chonce Maddox-Rhea explains everything you need to know about what is rideshare below.

What is Rideshare?

Ridesharing is a pretty popular concept these days, and most people depend on it. However, you’d be surprised at how many people don’t understand exactly what ridesharing is.

If that’s you, don’t worry, because sure you’re not alone. According to the Pew Research Center in 2019, only 36% of American adults have used ridesharing services. Sixty-one percent had heard of the services, but 3% of American adults hadn’t even heard of them.

If you think you know all about rideshare because you know Uber and Lyft, think again! The other day I was driving through Wisconsin on my way to a retreat, and I kept seeing a bunch of signs that directed people to call a certain number if they were interested in ridesharing. My first thought was: what was that all about?

I thought rideshare meant Uber and Lyft. It turns out, Wisconsin has their own free rideshare program that brings commuters together for carpooling and bicycle commuting.

This made me realize that the concept of ridesharing has evolved and expanded so much over the years. It’s a nice way to get around, help the environment, and make some extra money.

Why People Love Ridesharing

The one thing I love about ridesharing today is that you don’t have to always verbally tell a driver where you’ll be. I remember having to call a taxi sometimes to help me get home from the train station when I was in college and I never liked the experience.

Nowadays, it’s so easy to communicate with drivers and share your location with one simple app. The app isn’t the only way to request a ride through some platforms though.

Passengers can also use an older phone as long as it has an internet browsing option. You can also choose to call for a ride on a laptop or tablet. Passengers can even request rides from a public computer if they need to as well.

After all, all you need to do to start an Uber account is an email address and phone number – and many people have those nowadays.

How Rideshare Got Started

If you’re looking for rideshare information using Wikipedia, you won’t find much there at all.

The two biggest names in ridesharing are Uber and Lyft.

In 2012, Lyft was born. The rideshare giant was founded by John Zimmer and Logan Green. They started off in San Francisco and stood out from other cars on the road because drivers attached large pink mustaches to the front of their cars.

Lyft has launched many partnerships over the years, including Walt Disney World Resorts and GM. In 2018 Lyft announced they had given 1 billion riders to passengers as a company.

Uber was co-founded by Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp back in 2009. The company actually started off with the name UberCab but had to change the name in 2011, due to complaints from San Francisco Taxi drivers. By 2013 the company went from being available in San Francisco to over 35 cities.

The Top Ridesharing Companies

There are a variety of alternatives to Uber and Lyft, but Uber and Lyft are still the biggest names out there.


We all know about Uber! The company has really compiled some noteworthy stats as of December 2018. They have 91 million people monthly who use their platform (UberEats etc), with just under 4 million drivers.

Uber is available in 63 countries across the world. A total of 10 billion rides have been given across the globe, including 14 million per day.


Lyft has reached over 30 million riders with 2 million drivers. Lyft headquarters is in San Francisco California. Lyft is available across the US and Canada.

Lyft was birthed from Zimride, which was also created by Zimmer and Green. Lyft changed the whole concept of the company though, because at first Zimride was strictly focused on customers who wanted to carpool long distances.

Now Lyft is one of the top ridesharing companies in the world.


Most rides, unlike Lyft and Uber, are shared rides with Via. Via drivers can choose between making an hourly rate which is with Blue Mode and per trip mode.

Another thing that Via tries to get right is having passengers meet drivers at street corners, which can help make pickups smoother. This is for pick up and drop-offs as well. Passengers can then choose to walk the final block or two to their destination.


Wingz offers rides to customers from airports up to two months in advance. Wingz allows customers to build a relationship with their driver because they do allow you to make those special requests.

Rides aren’t just airport rides, though, and Wingz is even working on helping senior care centers and their residents. Wingz isn’t available to everyone. A few of the airports they service are in Texas, Seattle, and California.


Alto is also a rideshare service, but they are only based out of Dallas and Fort Worth. They are a little different than other companies because they do have W-2 drivers on the road.

Worldwide Rideshare Companies


When you look at the worldwide rideshare scene, one company that stands out is Didi. Didi has over 550 million users who use the app for their transportation needs.

It’s available throughout Latin America, Russia, and Asia Pacific. There are over 10 million delivery partners and drivers on the platform.

Didi provides over 10 billion rides per year. Didi was founded in China in 2012.


Back in 2012 Grab was founded in Malaysia. Grab has grown into one of South East Asia’s  largest mobile tech companies.

what is rideshare

Grab strives to take stress off the people of Southeast Asia who often have to deal with traffic congestion when driving. Grab offers a few ways to travel: JustGrab, GrabShare, and GrabHitch. GrabHitch is a way to carpool and save up to 40% on typical rides through the service.

Getting Started with Rideshare as a Passenger

Depending on which rideshare company you choose as a passenger, downloading the app is the best way to start the process of becoming a customer.

You may also have the option to visit their website and fill out your information there. To see if a company is even in your area, visit their website and type in your zip code.

If you’re new to using Uber or Lyft, make sure to sign up with a promo code in order to get any discounts on your first ride as a new passenger! You can use our Uber passenger promo code here or our Lyft passenger promo code here.

In order to actually book a ride, you’ll need to download the app and turn your notification settings on. This is the first step, then, you can type in your destination, receive a price quote, and call to have driver to come pick you up.

Here’s what the Uber passenger dashboard looks like at first glance.

what is rideshare

If notification settings are on, the app should be able to tell where you are and will prompt you to enter a destination.

With Lyft it’s the same scenario. You’ll confirm your pick-up location, enter your drop off destination, then view pricing and ride options since there are different types of vehicle types you can choose from.

Rideshare Pricing

Uber offers multiple ways to travel. Uber X (1-2 passengers), Uber Comfort (1-3 with a new car and extra legroom), Uber XL (1-5, so a small group), Uber Black (luxury ride with professional driver), Black SUV, (luxury ride for up to 5 passengers, Uber Pet (1-4 passengers and their furry friend).

There are also special services like Uber WAV for passengers who need wheelchair accessible vehicles, Uber Transit which is Uber’s version of public transit, Uber Taxi, and Uber Green.

Uber Green pairs passengers with hybrid fully electric vehicles. Uber Green is available in multiple cities including Chicago, Seattle, Portland, and San Diego.

Lyft has its own versions of economy, shared, luxury, and XL rides. Generally, the bigger the vehicle is or if it’s a luxury car, the more you’ll pay for the ride.

Carpooling is still a great way to save a few dollars on rides. If the other person riding is going in the same direction then it would only make sense to take advantage of the savings.

Lately, though, things are tricky with COVID-19 and most carpooling rideshare options are not available for now to comply with social distancing guidelines.

Rideshare Safety

Safety is a concern for some passengers as it very well should be. Over the years, both drivers and passengers have unfortunately been involved in incidents like robberies, sexual assault, verbal abuse, and even rape.

Before getting in a vehicle always verify the driver’s name and license plate. The first step to make sure you’re safe is to make sure you are getting in the right car. You can also ask the driver to give you your name as an extra precaution.

To play it safe always bring a friend or family member with. This can’t always happen (ex. Going to work), but try and make it a habit as much as possible. These are just a few of the many things passengers can do to stay safe during rideshare trips.

Uber partners with insurance providers like All State, Farmers, Progressive, and Liberty Mutual to provide rideshare insurance. This is very important to have in case an accident happens because regular insurance won’t help. If a driver’s app is on and waiting for a ride request some help is available.

  • $50,000 in bodily injury per person
  • $100,000 in bodily injury per accident
  • $25,000 in property damage per accident

Rideshare insurance will also help drivers who are en route to pick up passengers and ones that already have passengers in their vehicle. Passengers on both Uber and Lyft platforms are covered under rideshare insurance.

Becoming a Rideshare Driver

Becoming a rideshare driver for Uber is a pretty straightforward process. The first thing to look out for is a referral code (you can use our Uber referral code here). Read more about how Uber guarantees work.

During the signup process, you will need to provide your name, email address, phone number, social security number, payment method, and a profile picture. The age of your car does make a difference; view all Uber car and driver requirements.

Like Uber, it’s best to sign up for Lyft with a referral code (you can use our Lyft referral code). Learn more about Lyft’s earnings guarantee.

If you happen to want to drive in New York, Uber and Lyft currently aren’t taking additional drivers on at this time.

Becoming a rideshare driver through Lyft can be done either through their website or mobile app. Applicants must be 21 and have a clean driving record. Lyft conducts its background checks through Sterling BackCheck.

FAQs for What is Rideshare?

How does ridesharing work?

Ridesharing connects drivers to passengers who are looking for a ride to a destination. Oftentimes, this occurs through an app or online platform.

What is a rideshare driver?

A rideshare driver is someone who provides transportation to a location chosen by the passenger.

Is Uber a ride-sharing service?

Yes, Uber is a ridesharing service.

Who does rideshare benefit?

The driver who gets paid for the service, and the passenger who gets a ride to the destination.

What is the cheapest ride-sharing app?

Uber and Lyft seem to offer some of the best prices on the market. Also because of the number of drivers they have they can also get to passengers almost quicker than anybody.

What is the best rideshare company to work for?

Via seems to slowly be creeping up, but as far as consistently having work, Uber and Lyft have to be towards the top of the list.

Do I need to tip my rideshare driver?

Tips are not required but are recommended.

Readers, do you have more questions about rideshare you’d like answered? Let us know in the comments below!

-Chonce @ RSG